Mechanic’s Tip: Locking Wrenches for Leverage

locking wrenches for leverageGot a stubborn nut or bolt that was cranked down by Hercules during the golden age of the Roman Empire? If you don’t have an impact wrench, cheater bar, or 26″ biceps you might have a hard time breaking it loose. Before you attempt to karate kick your ratchet or bludgeon the offending piece of hardware with a hammer, head back to the tool box and grab a couple of combination wrenches.

For those who might be mechanically inept, a combination wrench  is a single size wrench that offers an open end on one side and a ‘box’ end on the other – although I’ve never quite understood the term box end, as it’s actually circular. If I ran the world it would be referred to as spherical round loopy end.  Unfortunately my plan for global domination is taking longer than anticipated.

Anyway, grab the appropriate wrench that fits the hardware you’re trying to break free and place the box end of it on the nut or bolt. Then grab another combination wrench that’s one or two sizes bigger and hook the box end of that wrench around the open end of the wrench on the nut/bolt. Instant leverage and extra torque!

It might take a moment to figure out the exact configuration – there’s an IQ test element similar to those sadistic bent metal puzzles found at Pancake Houses. Unlike those puzzles this is quickly solved without the aid of pliers.

While this simple tip is handy for loosening obstinate nuts and bolts, I wouldn’t recommend it for tightening them. Over tightening can lead to stretched threads, sheared bolts, high blood pressure, and uncontrollable fits of profanity.